JOHN Adams’ dream of a Stawell Gift final became a reality yesterday but not without a protest and the aid of a television replay.
The Albury-based professional runner and six-time semi-finalist was placed second by the judges in the fourth semi, but Adams immediately launched a protest against winner Ryan Camille.
And while the still image of the finish was inconclusive, a TV replay from a higher angle showed Adams’ chest as first to hit the line.
The judges couldn’t split the pair and Adams went into the final along with Camille.
Adams, 32, said it was just the latest drama in a rollercoaster month.
“In the past three weeks I became a dad, a week later my grandfather died and then I was in the final of a Stawell Gift and then not in it,” he said.
“I was sure I had won the semi.
“Camille’s head hit the line first and then his chest.
“And that showed in the fact that there were two times for him — the photo finish couldn’t split us but Channel 10’s replay from a higher angle favoured me winning.
“At worst we believed it was a dead heat.”
Adams said he finally got the nod just 45 minutes before the final.
In the big race he finished fourth, less than a tenth of a second behind Luke Versace — who retired immediately after the race.
“I just had to put it out of my mind, forget the semi and focus on the final,” Adams said.
“My coach said there are so many runners who just never get a chance to run in a final at Stawell.
“In the end I got a much better start than in the semi and ran as well as I possibly could, it was just a tenth of a second too slow.”
Adams is yet to decide on his running future.
“This is obviously the biggest thing to happen in my running career, we just have to work out whether it’s the last,” he said.
“My partner said to me not to make any rash decisions.”